Showing posts with label Australia-US relations. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Australia-US relations. Show all posts

Thursday, 14 January 2021

Kevin Rudd: "Donald Trump may have lit the match that caused his country’s turmoil, but it was Rupert Murdoch who crammed the joint full of explosives"

Crikey, 12 January 2021:


Donald Trump may have lit the match that caused his country’s turmoil, but it was Rupert Murdoch who crammed the joint full of explosives. 

His systematic manipulation and radicalisation of the American right-wing polity at large, and the Republican Party in particular, should ring alarm bells throughout our nation, including in the office of the prime minister. 

Over the past 25 years, Murdoch has used his Fox News network to unite American conservatives under his banner and shift them from the centre right to the far right with an intoxicating diet of grievance-driven, race-fuelled identity politics. 

By the time Trump announced his presidential campaign, these voters had been indoctrinated into a universe of “fake news”, “alternative facts” and elaborate conspiracy theoriesThe operational definition of fake news, in the eyes of the Trump presidency, became anything other than Fox News. 

After some initial disagreements, Murdoch backed Trump all the way to the White House. And they kept in lockstep throughout the Trump presidency. 

Trump would often repeat publicly the talking points he’d picked up from Fox. Newt Gingrich, the former Republican speaker, recommended booking interviews on Trump’s favourite shows as among the most effective ways of communicating directly with the Oval Office. And nothing delighted Murdoch’s swaggering ego, hard-right ideology and business tax interests more. 

Fox covered up for Trump’s mistakes, trying desperately to keep track with his shifting claims about the mildness or severity of the coronavirus. 

When Fox’s news reporters found nothing newsworthy in documents relating to Joe Biden’s son Hunter, Murdoch’s New York Post (under the watchful eye of his leading Australian henchman Col Allan) swooped in by pressuring junior reporters to put their names to its dubious front page story.

Like Trump, Murdoch’s news outlets also gave succour to the dangerous QAnon cult, with the devastating consequences witnessed in Washington last week. 

It is now beyond time for Scott Morrison to stand up and denounce QAnon before it can fully take root here in Australia. Even if it strains the prime minister’s personal friendships with members of the far right, he should send the sort of crystal-clear signal that Trump proved himself unable to before it was too late.....

Read the full article here

Personally, I believe it is too late to save Scott Morrison from himself. He lacks the ability for genuine self-examination.

Morrison was always attracted to Donald Trump, as one flimflam man often admires another more successful confidence trickster.

SNAPSHOT: Peter van Onselen

Scotty from Marketing has clearly drunk the QAnon-Trump Kool Aid, wrapped himself in his personal closet racism, his foreign Legion of Merit medal and those evangelical & pentecostal contacts he appears to prize above the interests of the Australian nation, so that he is now willingly protecting those members of his own government who are just the sort of greedy, self-interested, ignorant crazies who have driven American society into the ground.


Monday, 7 December 2020

In a post-Trump world how the U.S. sees Australia and its Prime Minister Scott Morrison

ANU Australian Centre On China In The World, 15 October 2019

From the moment Donald Trump was elected US president Scott Morrison has aped his caps, lapel pin, hand gestures, clumsy megaphone diplomacy and verbal aggression towards China. 

Who will Morrison ape now that Trump is a spent force awaiting an ignoble departure from the White House in January 2021 and how will an incoming Biden Government see Australia?

This is a snapshot of current American opinion of Scott Morrison and his government.....

New York Times, 1 December 2020:

At a time when Australia’s favored nation status with the Trump White House is about to expire, there is widespread concern that a Biden administration will focus less on America’s Pacific partners and more on rebuilding ties in Europe. That has pushed Australia deeper into a position of pleading for help in corralling China even as it beats its chest for sovereignty.

On one level, the prime minister’s reaction was completely reasonable. On another, it’s at the upper limit of what’s acceptable without making things worse,” said John Blaxland, a professor of international security at the Australian National University. “He’s got to tread a very fine line because Australia’s leverage is limited.”

David Brophy, a senior lecturer in modern Chinese history at the University of Sydney, said it had created a counterintuitive dynamic. China often condemns Australia for doing America’s bidding, when, in fact, Australia is trying desperately to cajole the United States into deeper engagement.

The American presence in Asia is more important for Australia than it is for America,” Brophy said. “When Australia sees any hint of withdrawal, as we saw at the beginning of the Trump administration, it stirs up this sense of panic. It’s not enough to wait for the U.S. to get back in the game; Australia has to show it can do more and will do more.”

Increasingly, that has meant tolerating economic pain and abandoning the approach that Australia has long followed with China — say little and do what must be done. Morrison’s government and China’s propaganda machine have instead been trading blows and turns at the microphone.

Geoff Raby, a former Australian ambassador to China, described it as a self-perpetuating cycle of paranoid provocation.

They are each confirming the other’s worst suspicions,” he said.

Whispered complaints are out, replaced by competing news conferences and laundry lists of grievances. Australia has launched two foreign interference investigations with high-profile raids. It now plans to file a lawsuit with the World Trade Organization over China’s blocking of barley imports — one of many products that China has rejected as tensions have soared.

University Wire, 1 December 2020:

While China and Australia have always been close trading partners, Australia has also been the key United States ally in the region - accommodating a significant American military presence and hosting an intelligence facility at Pine Gap. A senator even demanded that Chinese-Australian politicians denounce the CPC to prove their allegiance to the country.

The relationship between Canberra and Beijing has deteriorated after Australia pushed for an worldwide inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus in April without consulting Beijing, widening cracks in the relationship that had been growing since Canberra banned China's Huawei Technologies Co. from helping build its 5G telecommunications network two years ago.

In September two senior Australian reporters, the last in China working for Australian news outlets, left the country abruptly after being questioned by Chinese officials. This economic recovery development strategy could allow China to buy considerable amounts of Australian goods.

But it does feel a *little* bit rich to be demanding an apology over the post when, as far as I can see, Scott Morrison hasn't issued an apology to the families of those who were allegedly killed.

"As a warhound of the US, Australia should restrain its arrogance. Its politics, military and culture should stay far away from China - let's assume the two countries are not on the same planet", the paper argued. "Particularly, its warships must not come to China's coastal areas to flex muscles, or else it will swallow the bitter pills". No matter what harsh words people use on them for the murder, the Australian government should have accepted it.

Earlier this month, China outlined a list of grievances about Australia's foreign investment, national security and human rights policy, saying Canberra needed to correct its actions to restore the bilateral relationship with its largest trading partner.

New York Times, 2 December 2020:

For the past few years, Australia has positioned itself at the front of a global effort to stand up to China. It was the first country to ban Huawei's 5G technology, to pass foreign interference laws aimed at curbing Chinese influence, and to call for an international inquiry into the source of the coronavirus.

Now, Australia is sounding an even louder alarm. Prime Minister Scott Morrison, already vexed by China's blockade of Australian imports -- wine, coal, barley and cotton -- demanded on Monday that the Chinese government apologize for a lurid tweet showing an Australian soldier with a knife at the neck of an Afghan child. The world, he warned, was watching.

But even as he elevated a Twitter post to a four-alarm diplomatic fire, he also called for a reset with Beijing, reiterating that Australia's end game was still "the happy coexistence of two partners." In that somersault, Mr. Morrison inadvertently let the world hear Australia's internal dialogue of doubt -- one that echoes around the globe as China increasingly asserts its might.

The prime minister gave voice to the insecurities and anxieties that come with being caught between two superpowers. Those jitters are partly about the limited options in the face of China's tightening vise. But they are also about an America in flux.

At a time when Australia's favored nation status with the Trump White House is about to expire, there is widespread concern that a Biden administration will focus less on America's Pacific partners and more on rebuilding ties in Europe. That has pushed Australia deeper into a position of pleading for help in corralling China even as it beats its chest for sovereignty.

"On one level, the prime minister's reaction was completely reasonable. On another, it's at the upper limit of what's acceptable without making things worse," said John Blaxland, a professor of international security at the Australian National University. "He's got to tread a very fine line because Australia's leverage is limited."

The country's entire history since settlement has been shaped by unquestioned dependence on an alliance with a distant and dominant power, first England, then the United States. The prospect of an end to that stability, with American decline or indifference and Chinese dominance, fills most Australians with dread.

Voice of America News, 2 December 2020:

On November 17 Tokyo and Canberra agreed to negotiate the Japan-Australia Reciprocal Access Agreement (RAA), the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on its website. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison was visiting Tokyo then to meet his counterpart Yoshihide Suga. Japan has no similar deals with any country besides the United States.

The two leaders issued a joint statement that omitted China by name but condemned its activities in the South China Sea, where Beijing took the upper hand in a six-way sovereignty dispute after landfilling islets for military use through 2017.

"The [leaders] had serious concerns about the recent negative developments and serious incidents in the South China Sea, including continuing militarization of disputed features, dangerous and coercive use of coast guard vessels and 'maritime militia', launches of ballistic missiles, and efforts to disrupt other countries' resource exploitation activities," the statement said.

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian slammed the statement as "a gross interference to China's internal matters."

But Beijing cannot cast the Australia-Japan pact as explicitly anti-China, said Oh Ei Sun, senior fellow with the Singapore Institute of International Affairs. "China would of course not like it, but China could not argue that it is targeting China," Oh said. "Any two countries could sign this kind of thing. A third country could not say 'it is targeting me.'"

U.S. officials, conversely, will probably smile on the Australia-Japan deal because Washington wants its allies to help with pro-American causes in Asia, said Stephen Nagy, senior associate professor of politics and international studies at International Christian University in Tokyo.

The U.S. government periodically sends navy ships to the South China Sea, upsetting Beijing, and offers weapons to Asian countries for their defense against China. Beijing maintains the world's third strongest arms forces. U.S. President Donald Trump's administration has taken on China as well over trade, technology access and consular issues.

"The fact that Australian troops can come and base here and engage in more frequent and probably deeper bilateral training with Japan and of course with the United States, because the United States is already based here, this creates more interoperability," Nagy said. "It creates a more cohesive bilateral and multilateral partnership to push back against China."

The reciprocal access agreement will mainly smooth drills and training between countries that already work together militarily, scholars say. Japanese already visit Australia for military training, for example a long-range howitzer firing exercise last year.

The two sides can learn more from each other on amphibious operations and explore areas for joint development such as long-range strike capability, Davis said.

"The significance of the RAA cannot be understated," Morrison said in a statement in November on the prime minister's website. "It will form a key plank of Australia's and Japan's response to an increasingly challenging security environment in our region amid more uncertain strategic circumstances."

CNN Wire Services, 2 December 2020:

Canberra's tensions with Beijing may also cast a shadow on the recovery. Speaking with reporters Wednesday, Frydenberg called the dispute with China a "very serious situation."

"China is our number one trading partner. Many Australian jobs rely on trade," he said, adding that Australia is looking for free trade agreements with other partners around the world — including the European Union — in an effort to reduce the risk.

"I'm very optimistic about the opportunities for our exporters around the world," Frydenberg said.

Economists, meanwhile, say the ongoing trade spat hasn't yet escalated to the point at which it poses a real threat to Australia's economy.

Relations have been deteriorating since Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison called for an international inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic in April, a move that Beijing called "political manipulation."…..

Politico, 3 December 2020:

The wolves come home to roost. On Sunday, Chinese diplomat (or is that “diplomat”?) Zhao Lijian managed to turn hostilities between Beijing and Canberra up yet another notch when he shared a graphic illustration on Twitter depicting an Australian servicemember gleefully cutting the throat of a small Afghan child. Australia’s defense minister had released a report on Nov. 19 recommending 19 Australian soldiers be investigated for what it called the “murder” of 39 civilians and prisoners in Afghanistan. Australian PM Scott Morrison promptly demanded an apology for the image, but he got the opposite. “Do they think that their merciless killing of Afghan civilians is justified but the condemnation of such ruthless brutality is not?” spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a Monday presser.

Nationalistic Chinese netizens were excited by the row, lauding Zhao for “standing up and speaking up against the enemy,” reports China Watcher’s Shen Lu. Many raved about Zhao’s “agenda-setting capability” on the international stage. The creator of the image Zhao posted, who calls himself a “wolf warrior illustrator,” quickly followed up with another creation:

This one, which appears to depict a press corps more interested in a violent painting than a battlefield, has received over 546,000 likes and counting. But in posts that censors later deleted, Chinese critics said they believe Zhao does owe Australia a mea culpa, and delivered a reminder that Zhao used to go by Muhammad Lijian Zhao on Twitter while he was a diplomat in Pakistan.

Meanwhile, incoming Natsec adviser Sullivan sure seemed to subtweet Zhao when he wrote Wednesday on Twitter that America will “stand shoulder to shoulder” with Australia, “as we have for a century.” It’s another important signal that Beijing won’t get a reset on its terms.

Univesity Wire, 3 December 2020:

The Australian government was among a number of Western countries that have called for an investigation into the origin of the Coronavirus in Wuhan. Two days later, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the World Health Organization needed the powers of "weapons inspectors" to get to the bottom of what happened in Wuhan.

What followed led to a diplomatic row and a souring of relations between the two countries not seen before - a row that reached a crescendo this week when Mr Morrison demanded an official apology after a graphic slur about Australia's alleged war crimes by a Chinese official on Twitter.

Thursday, 12 November 2020

This is going straight to the pool room, darl...... WARNING: some offensive language in song


Christiaan Van Vuuren wrote, sang and created the video. He is a an actor, writer, director and video blogger from Sydney, Australia.

Wednesday, 5 August 2020

Things you might have missed in the daily news

Financial Review, 3 August 2020:

Taiwanese lender Yuanta Securities Investment Trust has sold $27 million worth of bonds in Adani's Abbot Point coal terminal in Queensland, joining a rapidly expanding list of Asian and global lenders that have shunned the controversial project.

Yuanta was once the second-biggest investor in one of the project's bond issuances, holding more than 5 per cent of a $US500 million issuance due to expire at the end of 2022….


According to an ABC News artilce published on 31 July 2020, a senior federal Border Force officer allowed 2,700 people to disembark the Ruby Princess cruise ship mistakenly believing passengers had tested negative to COVID-19, when they had instead tested negative for the common flu. 

Border Force command only realised the mistake more than 30 hours after passengers — including 13 who had been isolated in their cabins with fever — had left the ship.

The Ruby Princess COVID-19 cluster resulted in at least 662 infections and 21 deaths, the single biggest arrival of coronavirus on Australian shores.


The Market Herald, 23 July 2020:
  • The Chinese navy has confronted Australian warships in the South China Sea en route to a military exercise with Japan and the U.S.
  • Five ships, lead by HMA Canberra, were travelling through disputed waterways when they encountered the Chinese military
  • The Joint Task Force was heading to the Philippine Sea at the time, where it planned to conduct military movements ahead of the biennial RIMPAC conference
  • The exercise aimed to increase interoperability between the Australian, American, and Japnese navies, but came amid increasing tensions between the U.S. and China over territory in the South China Sea
  • Speaking to the encounter, the Department of Defence said all "unplanned interactions with foreign warships throughout the deployment were conducted in a safe and professional manner"….
Next month, all three navies will head to the biannual Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) in Hawaii — the biggest global maritime warfare activity.
However, in 2018, China invitation to RIMPAC was withdrawn based on its 'aggressive' territorial claims in the South China Sea.
It's understood China won't participate in this year's RIMPAC event either.


The Daily Telegraph, 1 August 2020, p.27:

The crowd pleaser
With world-famous surf breaks, natural springs and coastal charm, Yamba is the beach break you never knew you needed.


According to recently released Australian Taxation Office data, in the 2017-18 financial year the amount of tax paid in main urban areas went as followed in the NSW Northern Rivers region:
  • Grafton postcode 2460 – 14,500 individuals paid $117.32 million.
  • Kyogle postcode 2474 – 3,336 individuals paid $24.66 million
  • Ballina postcode 2478 – 15,690 individuals paid $186.06 million
  • Lismore postcode 2480 – 24,989 individuals paid $207.96 million
  • Byron Bay postcode 2481 – 9,050 individuals paid $114.50 million
  • Tweed Heads postcode 2485 – 7,709 individuals paid $66.43million
  • Tweed Heads postcode 2486 – 17,127 individuals paid $150.65 million.


ABC News, 4 August 2020:

A growing group of anti-maskers have been "baiting" and antagonising Victorian police, and in one instance smashed the head of a female officer into concrete until she was concussed, authorities say. 

Police said two female police officers approached a 38-year-old woman, who was not wearing a face covering, in the Frankston area last night. 

After questioning the woman about why she was not wearing one, police allege she pushed one officer and struck the other in the head. "After a confrontation and being assaulted by that woman, those police officers went to ground and there was a scuffle," 

Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Shane Patton said. "During that scuffle, this 38-year-old woman smashed the head of the [26-year-old] policewoman several times into a concrete area on the ground." 

Police said the constable was taken to Frankston Hospital with "significant head injuries". 

The woman's alleged assault left the young police officer with a concussion and a missing clump of hair, Police Association of Victoria secretary Wayne Gatt said. 

"The offender had a clump of our member's hair in her hands and said to our member 'what's it like to have your hair in my hands' or words to that effect," he said. "That's just horrible conduct — it's not human-like to be quite honest." 

Police have charged the alleged attacker with nine offences, including two counts of assaulting an emergency worker and one count of recklessly causing injury. 

She had no previous criminal history and was granted bail to appear before the Frankston Magistrates' Court on March 31, 2021.... 

Chief Commissioner Patton said in the past week police had seen a trend of people calling themselves "sovereign citizens" who "don't think the law applies to them". 

"We've seen them at checkpoints baiting police, not providing a name and address," he said. 

"On at least four occasions in the last week, we've had to smash the windows of cars and pull people out to provide details because they weren't adhering to the Chief Health Officer's guidelines, they weren't providing their name and address."


Friday, 29 May 2020

Australia 2020: distrust of Trump appears to be growing

In Australia's case, the country responsible for the greatest number of infections happened to be the United States, not China. We closed our borders to China as soon as we appreciated the risk; just as Trump himself did in late January. But the Americans weren't testing for the virus, and Australian health officials drew false comfort from their apparent low number of cases in February. The virus almost got away from us because of a failure to anticipate the threat of community transmission from Australians returning from winter holidays in the US.” [The Sydney Morning Herald, 23 May 2020]

Scott Morrison might owe Donald Trump a strategic apology. Australia's success in suppressing the first wave of the coronavirus doesn't sit well with the US President's latest attempt to avoid responsibility for the American death toll now approaching 100,000.

Because if Trump is to be believed, no one could have stopped the plague. How else should the Prime Minister read the tweet Trump sent on Wednesday, directed at "some whacko in China" who was "blaming everybody other than China for the Virus which has now killed hundreds of thousands of people"?

"Please explain to this dope that it was the 'incompetence of China', and nothing else, that did this mass Worldwide killing!" the President tweeted.

By that reckoning, the roll call of nations that have avoided the worst of the pandemic so far, including Australia and New Zealand in the Asia Pacific, South Korea and Taiwan in Asia, and Denmark and Greece in Europe, must have been lucky. All were in the direct line of transmission from Wuhan, but somehow the plague didn't bother knocking on their door.

This is patently absurd. In Australia's case, the country responsible for the greatest number of infections happened to be the United States, not China. We closed our borders to China as soon as we appreciated the risk; just as Trump himself did in late January. But the Americans weren't testing for the virus, and Australian health officials drew false comfort from their apparent low number of cases in February. The virus almost got away from us because of a failure to anticipate the threat of community transmission from Australians returning from winter holidays in the US.

It was only after we shut the border to the US in late March, and enforced a 14-day quarantine for all Australians coming home, that the virus was suppressed. But that detail is best avoided between friends, because it would only draw Morrison into the cross-hairs of Trump's digital grievances…..

Australia should pause and reflect. There has been a tendency lately for the Australian and Chinese governments to trade cartoonish insults. Who started it tends to get lost in the mutual indignation. The danger for Australia is that we validate Chinese invective by accepting it as the normal way to do business. The risk beyond the immediate commercial relationship with China is that the rest of the world sees us as a smaller version of Trump's America, and stops taking us seriously.

Obviously, the values of Trump's America don't align with ours. Trump divides his country by political reflex. This wouldn't be unusual if he understood where to draw the line between robust debate and vilification, and between the scrutiny of his opponents and the criminalisation of their public service. But he doesn't. The race baiting at home, and abroad, isn't a tactic; it comes from deep within. So do the calls to lock people up. It is who he is. The bully that is supposed to have our back, Washington, is often indistinguishable from the bully who now threatens our economy, Beijing.

And Trump's economic interest in promoting an America First international order undermines our interest in a global trading system in which all nations continue to do business in good faith.
Australia's two-way trade with China represents 26 per cent of our total trade with the world. Last financial year, that relationship was worth $235 billion, which almost equalled the combined value of our two-way trade with Japan ($88.5 billion), the United States ($76.4 billion), South Korea ($41.4 billion) and Singapore ($32.7 billion), our trading partners ranked second to fifth….

If Trump took the time to ponder these numbers he might just advise Morrison to play nice with the Chinese because they let us screw them. He'd also be grateful that Australia allows itself to be ripped off by the Americans.

On the other hand, if the Chinese continue to pick off our second-tier exports to teach us a lesson for speaking out, perhaps Trump might want to open up his economy to Australia to compensate us for our losses? For example, Australia is the world's second-largest exporter of beef. But the Americans only bought $1.1 billion from Australian farmers in the year to March, while the Chinese imported more than double that amount – $2.8 billion. The Americans would surely want some Aussie wine to go with their Aussie steak. Australia is the world's fourth-largest exporter of wine but once again, the Chinese have been more willing to buy alcohol from us than the Americans – $1.2 billion versus $450 million.

But this is not how Trump sees the world. He'd like Americans to buy local, and to sell their surpluses to the rest of the world. A world where China cuts out Australia, and leaves us to bargain with a protectionist US, is not one that serves our interests.

Monday, 13 January 2020

When even a high-end jeweller has a better understanding of climate change threat than the Australian Coalition Government

Advertisement placed in The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age on 11 November 2020:
Image: @BevanShields

Tiffany & Co.
was established in New York in 1837 by Charles Lewis Tiffany and John B. Long. In 1987 it became a public company.

Thursday, 5 December 2019

Angus Taylor's staffer tries to slide out from under claims the minister made about Naomi Wolf

House of Representatives, Hansard, 10 December 2013:

Mr TAYLOR (Hume) (16:40): 

 ....At the same time, we must protect our basic values and bedrock institutions. I first encountered political correctness as a student at Oxford. It was 1991, and a young Naomi Wolf lived a couple of doors down the corridor. Several graduate students, mostly from the north-east of the US, decided we should abandon the Christmas tree in the common room because some people might be offended. I was astounded. My friends from Oklahoma, Alaska and Oregon explained this new kind of moral vanity that was taking hold in America. A few of us pushed back hard. In the end we won, because we were mainstream. But we must resist the insidious political correctness that would have us discard those core values that have made us great. In our times, the world over, the foundation of democracy—free speech—and the foundation of capitalism—property rights—are being chipped away by shrill elitist voices who insist that they know what is best for people who are not remotely like them. I can tell you, I will always defend property rights and free speech. And in this place I will back the parliament over the executive and the judiciary, because it is through this parliament that each of us here is accountable to our constituents.

The Australian, 3 December 2019:

The story was also paraphrased in a Financial Review profile on Taylor the next year, on December 5, 2014: “Taylor was awarded a Rhodes scholarship and went to Oxford University, where left-wing writer Naomi Wolf lived a few doors away. When she proposed banning the traditional Christmas tree, Taylor, a Christian, led a successful counter rebellion.”

Saturday, 12 October 2019

Cartoons of the Week

 Andrew Dyson, The Sydney Morning Herald, 4 October 2019

Mark David in Independent Australia, 4 October 2019

From The Guardian, 24 September 2019, Comment is Free - Get all your needs met at the First Dog shop if what you need is First Dog merchandise and prints.

Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Did Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on a taxpayer funded official visit to the United States intend to push a Pentacostal agenda?

Prime Minister & MP for Cook Scott Morrison has been outed in US media for apparently wanting Australian taxpayers to fund a trip to Washington DC for a named paedophile enabler.

The Washington Post,  20 September 2019:

Weeks before Mr. Morrison’s arrival in Washington, the standard advance-planning process hit a bump in the road.
Mr. Morrison was determined to bring as part of his delegation Hillsong Church Pastor Brian Houston —the man he frequently refers to as his “mentor” —but the White House vetoed the idea, telling his office that Mr. Houston was not invited, according to a person familiar with the discussions.
Brian Houston in 2015 was censured by the Australian government’s royal commission into child sexual abuse for failing to report his father, Frank Houston, to police for the alleged sexual abuse of children in his church. The highly publicized child abuse commission ran four years. Before his death in 2004 aged 82, Frank Houston confessed to sexually abusing a boy in New Zealand three decades earlier, and was immediately removed from ministry by his son.
Brian Houston defended his behavior at the time of his censure. He didn’t respond to a request for comment for this article.
After several rounds of discussions across the 14 time zones between Washington and Canberra, Mr. Morrison agreed to leave the pastor at home, according to several people familiar with the matter.

Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, Case Study 18: Australian Christian Churches, October 2015 Final Report - The response of the Australian Christian Churches and affiliated Pentecostal churches to allegations of child sexual abuse - includes William Francis “Frank” Houston and Pastor Brian Houston.

The Sydney Mornign Herald, 8 October 2014:

Hillsong Church leader Brian Houston allegedly told his father's sexual abuse victim that he brought the crime upon himself by tempting his abuser.
The victim, given the pseudonym AHA, told the royal commission into child sexual abuse he was molested by Mr Houston's father, Frank Houston, for a number of years from the age of seven......
In 1998, AHA's mother disclosed the abuse to a senior pastor at the Emmanuel Christian Family Church, who said she would refer it to the Assemblies of God hierarchy instead of the police.
Shortly afterwards, Frank Houston, then aged in his late 70s, got in touch with AHA to offer financial compensation.
AHA said Frank Houston told him: "I want your forgiveness for this. I don't want to die and have to face God with this on my head."
They met at McDonald's in Thornleigh where AHA was asked to sign a food-stained napkin in return for a cheque for $10,000.
When Brian Houston, the national president of the Assemblies of God in Australia from 1997 to 2009, became aware of allegations against his father he suspended him from the church.
The commission heard a meeting of senior Assemblies of God members was called and it was decided that the allegation would be kept confidential. When other allegations of abuse involving six boys in New Zealand came to light, it was decided that Frank Houston would retire, without the exact reason being made public.
Frank Houston, the founder of the Sydney Christian Life Centre which merged with the Hills Christian Life Centre to become Hillsong Church, died in 2004......

The Guardian, 21 September 2019:

Frank Houston abused up to nine boys in Australia and New Zealand.....